Madam Speaker, I rise today to ask questions in the House with respect to the government's management of the residential school claims dispute. This matter has been discussed previously in the House.
Before Christmas the Deputy Prime Minister indicated to the House that this program was an enormous success, particularly the ADR component of the program, and that the costs which had been incurred up to that point were simply costs that related to the ramping up process so that the government could carry on with the settlement of ADR claims.
In fact, nothing of the sort has happened. At this point the government has expended approximately $125 million on this process and has resolved something in the neighbourhood of 50 ADR cases. In effect, if one analyzes the numbers it is very clear that four-fifths of every $1 that has been spent on this program has been spent on bureaucracy, experts, lawyers and the like, with only 20¢ on the $1 ever finding its way through to the victims.
The AFN studied this and put a recommendation before the government but it judged the ADR program, the process, to be a complete failure. It says that it is motivated by the tort claim considerations of the government but, most important, it says that at the current rate it will take 53 years and cost $2.3 billion in bureaucratic, legal and expert costs alone to resolve these claims. That does not even take into consideration the cost of the settlements themselves.
At this point in time the number of claims that have been submitted to the government under its program are quite meagre compared to the total pool of available claimants. I have been told that something in the neighbourhood of 1,227 cases have been submitted to the government in this dispute resolution process. In fact, there is a known pool of 85,975 live-in residential school survivors who have available claims against the government.
In addition, the entire mismanagement of the program is complicated by the class action lawsuits that have been commenced, one by the name of Cloud, which has now been certified in the Ontario Divisional Court, and a second one by the name of Baxter, which is on the verge of certification. All of this spells enormous liability consequences for the government.
Could the minister tell this House how the government intends to deal with this? It is very clear that the ADR program is not working and that it is a dismal failure with $125 million to $135 million having been spent at this point with 50 cases resolved. That is beyond pathetic.
What is the government intending to do about this? There has been a redress scheme in Ireland called the residential institutions redress act of 2002. I am not necessarily saying that I would agree with everything in that legislative scheme, but it is certainly understandable. Could the minister tell the House why we have not followed an approach like that? Why is there so much mystery, confusion and bureaucracy surrounding the process that is being followed by the government?